Our Potty Training Endeavors

As you can see on my video and as many of you have experienced…potty training is a b$#@h! (To put it lightly). And my child is a liar. I ask Meyer every night before she takes a bath, “do you want to go pee on the potty?” She lights up and says, “YES!” Then I put her on the potty and she laughs and runs away.

We got her a potty very early (around 9 months old) just to see what she thought of it, and because it was so darn cute to see her naked sitting on a little potty. She was reluctant at first but then she would just sit there and read, like it was the greatest thing in the world! And when she would pee, she would get so happy when she looked down and saw what she accomplished. It was amazing when she was too little to walk or run away from me and the potty. She had no choice but to sit there until I picked her up, which may have been 10 minutes sometimes. It was great! But now that she is running around everywhere, I am lucky if she stays on the potty for 5 seconds.IMG_9694

I even try to bring her in the bathroom when I go, and she says “pee?’ and watches me with delight. She even wants to help me with the toilet paper! The whole roll most of the time…But when I sit Meyer on her own little potty, she slips and wiggles around like the potty is greased with oil. She has even picked it up before and put it back under the sink, as if to say, “I’m done with you!” I’m hoping that when she turns two this process will get easier and she will actually want to sit on the potty.

 

Flying With a Toddler

I have one rule when you are flying with a toddler. They are the boss. Yup, I said it! Contrary to the rules in my home, where my husband and I are the bosses, Miss Meyer is the little boss when we fly. That is the only way to make it work in the confined space, 35,000 feet in the air, surrounded by strangers. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. It’s what works for us and I’m sure it is working for thousands of other parents too, no matter if they want to admit it or not. You want another cookie? Okay, just don’t cry! You need to walk around? Okay, let’s hit it. You want to rip up the “Sky Magazine?” Just as long as it distracts you long enough to stop kicking that poor man’s chair in front of you! Up in the sky, anything goes! That should really be a slogan somewhere…By this, I don’t mean let your children run free and encourage them to misbehave, I am just saying that you have to be a little more lenient with the discipline and rules on a plane. There is really no place to put your kid in timeout on an airplane and certainly nowhere you can take them aside and talk to them quietly. So why stress about being the ‘perfect parent’ when you can relax and enjoy every aspect of your trip. Even the flight! But you also have to be prepared, just in case the boss gets a little angry…IMG_1572

Pack your iPad…and other essentials. Even if you are that parent who is totally against iPads, they are a lifesaver on a plane. Trust me! They will keep your little one busy for hours with shows, games and movies. Except when you are on a 5 hour flight to Hawaii and there is no WiFi on the plane and your kid can no longer watch endless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as planned. True story. Thank goodness American Airlines had inflight entertainment and the Disney channel with three episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ready to go. Total lifesaver! I don’t think we would have made it considering Mickey is Meyer’s favorite person in the whole world. Oh and we watched those three episodes for 5 hours straight. Over and over and over…..I have them memorized. I could probably even be the next voice of Minnie. Or at least a writer for that show. If your kids aren’t into iPads, make sure to pack a book, their favorite toy or some coloring books to keep them busy. And plenty of snacks. You could always buy them a snack on the flight but most kids don’t like trail mix, or chips or hummus, so it’s safer to bring their favorite snacks from home.

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Don’t forget the Boppy (or favorite pillow). I am still on the fence about whether we need to buy Meyer her own seat or have her on my lap like we did when we went to Hawaii but having a Boppy is key. When Meyer was 8 months old and took her first plane ride to Boston, she was on my lap with the Boppy but that flight was also a red-eye so she knocked out the whole time. I didn’t even consider taking the car seat on the flight and paying an extra few hundred dollars for her when children can fly free (on your lap) until they are 2. Why pay when you know you are going to be required to in a couple of years anyway? When we flew to Seattle and also to Phoenix, those flights were so short that I didn’t even consider buying her a seat. She can chill on my lap for an hour or two. But when we went to Hawaii last month, my husband and I contemplated buying her a seat for at least a few months until we decided that we weren’t going to waste the money and she would just sit with me. I mean, what if we did buy her a seat and she wanted to stand or sit on our laps the whole time anyway, right? I do have to admit that it was nice on the ride home when we lucked out and the middle seat was empty. Boom, Meyer had her own seat for free. And without that Boppy, she would have been miserable. The seats on the plane are so uncomfortable even for us, can you imagine trying to curl up in the seat and sleep without some sort of pillow? And if your little one is on your lap, the Boppy keeps you both comfy and also serves as a breast-feeding pillow if needed.

Be very meticulous yet realistic when packing. You don’t need to pack every single book, toy and essential your baby needs on the trip. You are already bringing the stroller, car seat and diaper bag right? You need to lighten your load. You really have to plan and ask yourself, “do I really need the stroller/pack and play/Baby Bjorn on this trip?” And if you do, then pack it. You can check it at the gate if that is one of your concerns. But we have been on many trips where we brought it and didn’t even use it. If you don’t think you will need it, then leave it at home. That goes for the car seat too. If you aren’t going to be driving anywhere on your vacation, then you really don’t need to bring it! Trust me, it’s hard enough traveling with a toddler, especially when you are toting around every last possession that kid owns! There are also baby gear rental companies in most cities that are seriously the best thing ever! When we went to Maui, we used Maui on the Fly www.mauionthefly.com to rent a crib, highchair and car seat and it saved us so much time, stress and even bag check fees. And if you forget something? You can buy it there. Don’t stress! Your baby will get over it if you forget the banana teething toy that she ‘just can’t live without!’

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Don’t worry about what other people think. I feel like that is the number one reason parents don’t want to fly with their babies. They are too worried about what other people will say if their baby isn’t an angel on the flight. So what, who cares? Babies are loud, babies cry, babies are needy. Everyone knows that and this is a free country so people can deal with it. There are plenty of adults that I have met that are way worse than babies and they don’t care what you will think of them on the plane when they fart/talk loud/get up every two seconds/disrespect flight attendants and whatever else they do. So, if you are anxious to fly with a toddler (and I know a few people who are) and have ruled out any sort of vacation that requires an airplane, please reconsider! Don’t limit your family vacation destination spots because you don’t think your toddler can handle it. They will be fine! And don’t worry, they serve alcohol on flights…it will help you get rid of your nerves.

 

Toddler Activities

We all want to give our children everything, right? But that doesn’t mean that we need to break the bank when it comes to activities. And we have to make sure that whatever we are doing is fun for the entire family, not just the kids. I chose to splurge on one or two classes and/or memberships and then I get creative at home with a few activities. That way, not only am I saving a few dollars, but I am getting in some quality time with my little one as well. There are also so many fun and free things to do and explore in every city that will take years to accomplish!

14FFC4FB-AD6F-4F0A-9AB3-AFCECFB4C097I enrolled Meyer in a Tiny Tykes class at My Gym, which is a children’s fitness and play gym. There are comparable places everywhere that offer similar classes like Scooter’s Jungle and Gymboree if there are no My Gyms where you live. For $75/month, Meyer loves going to play with the other kids once a week and has developed social skills that she wouldn’t have otherwise, since she is not around kids all day. I also signed her up for a Baby Swim class at Academy Swim Club, which she went every Wednesday during the Spring to learn her swim skills. It was a little steep for $110/month, but once I felt that she knew the basics, I pulled her out of the class and we now practice at home in our pool once a week.

FullSizeRender2Every Friday, I take Meyer to the local library where she gets to pick out 4 books per week and also play in the kid’s room. Libraries are such a fun (and free) place to take your kids and there is usually at least one in every city. Most libraries even have a story time hour, where you can drop the kids off and go find a quiet corner to read. Because let’s be honest- how many books (without pictures) have you read since becoming a mother?  We also got an annual membership to the Los Angeles Zoo, which was pretty affordable at $84 for the Individual Plus membership (Meyer is free until she is 2 years old). If your city has a zoo, check out what their memberships cost because they usually pay for themselves in a few visits. Zoos are such a fun and educational place to spend a lazy Sunday when you don’t want to be sitting around the house.

IMG_1555.jpgBut when I do want to stay at home, I try to come up with a few activities to keep Meyer busy (and tire her out before nap time). Depending on how old your little one is, we love playing with Play-Doh (“don’t put that in your mouth!”),  coloring in her coloring books (“don’t eat the crayons!”), playing dress up (I may enjoy dressing up like a Disney Princess more than Meyer) and having teepee movie time where we load up her teepee with blankets, stuffed animals and snacks and watch a movie of her choice. (Okay- it’s really a movie of my choice, but I at least make sure it is a G rated cartoon).

If you feel like you have no idea how to keep your little one entertained, check out one of my favorite websites, Red Tricycle (www.redtri.com). It has so many fun things to do in several of the major cities in the U.S. along with so many creative ideas on things to do at home to keep the little ones busy. Still not inspired? There are always the local parks and even little hidden jewels in every city that you may stumble upon that could become your favorite places to go.

IMG_1754My parents were visiting this week from Maine and while I went to work one day, they took care of Meyer. I could tell my dad was tired of the LA traffic when he asked me to find them something local to do. I had heard about the nearby William S. Hart Museum in Newhall (my mother-in-law took Meyer there earlier this year) but I had never been. Well, it was like I had sent my parents to an all expenses paid trip to Disneyland. They had a blast! You can walk along the old stomping grounds of the famed silent-film actor, tour his home, visit the animals that live there and look at all of the Western art & collectibles from William Hart’s life. And it’s absolutely free to boot! Whether you choose to venture out or stay inside, there are so many fun things to do with your little ones! And remember, its okay to act like a kid and really get into it. I certainly do!